There is a strange camerarderie that builds up amongst commuters. Forty years ago on this line it would have been stockbrokers and overpaid clerks all respectably dressed like the extras from a Monty Python sketch.
It isn't like that these days, but there is still a lot stiffupperlipperiness about it all. But not so much about the the starch of empire and middle class mores. More the qawkiness of a youth club disco of the time. It is what you would expect I guess.
Commuting turns you into a geek of course. No, no scrap that, take responsibility for your own foibles. It actually brings out the geek in you. Most mornings two thirds of the residents carriage three know each other. Not to speak to, except for the odd harrumph at the vicissitudes of the integrated transport system, or disconcerting t the introduction of an irregular carriarige into the role of coach three, or the odd muttered apology crashing after an embarrassed space invasion at some dodgy points you should have remembered.
By Clapham Junction its like a Friends Reunited reunion.
But you do begin think you know what these fellow travellers like, what they do, who they are. Perhaps it's all in your head. In this case it clearly was. The girl in glasses and the duffle coat, with the sad eyes and the tenor voice that surprised you on the odd occasion she spoke surprised us all that day.
I see my friends from that carriage all over the train these days. We wouldn't dream of talking about it. Plus ca change.....